IT has always been the yard with nine lives.

Fairfield in Govan has survived threat after threat, somehow finding just one more order as other Clyde ship-builders closed down.

Even as BAE Systems signalled that it sees the best future for warship manufacturing at Scots-toun, many still see some kind of future for the site.

Company executives have already held talks with council leaders, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Govern-ment about Govan.

Their priority? Retaining some kind of manufacturing at the site.

Charlie Blakemore, BAE Systems business and transformation director, said: "We have talked all the politicians through the plans.

"We have had good conversations with Finance Secretary John Swinney, he can see what we want to do.

"BAE has a great track record of bringing other work in to facilities. It might be from our group, it might be external.

"We would be working closely with every local authority to maintain this as a manufacturing site."

Labour politicians, including Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson and Anniesland MP John Robertson, have already signalled they would accept Govan clos-ing to ensure shipbuilding on the Clyde long term.

They and other city figures believe Govan may have an industrial future - but few are prepared to bet on a return of civilian shipbuilding to the site.

LABOUR member and GMB shop steward at the site John Dolan has set the tone for the party's response.

He said: "A lot of tears will be shed by people who have been working in Govan for a long time and people who work in Scotstoun too.

"We would love to be in a position that there was enough work to keep both yards open. But history moves on."

Labour's SNP rivals are also cautiously welcom-ing of the Scotstoun frigate factory - and the £200million investment and job security it entails. But they don't want to see Govan abandoned.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "As a Glasgow MSP with close connections to Govan shipyard I am deeply upset at any suggestion Govan won't form part of the future plans.

"Shipbuilding is not just the physical manu-facturing capacity but it is so important to Govan and its history."

AND she went on: "It will be a hammer blow if it was to be closed. I hope it is still open to discussion.

"Longer term if the plan is to centralise ship-building at Scotstoun there is an absolute requirement to make sure the Govan facility is safeguarded. My pref-erence is to see Govan shipyard continue."

Right now BAE Systems is focusing on how best to deliver its coming Type 26 contract. But it does have other defence work at Govan, including some patrol vessels that will see the yard through to 2018.

The firm stresses this means there will be no sudden death for Fair-field, owned by infra-structure giant Clydeport.

The UK Government and BAE Systems will announce the future of the frigate contract - including whether the Scotstoun frigate factory will get the final go-ahead - late this year.

That, the company says, gives years to come up with an alternative use for Fairfield if necessary.

"We are having these conversations as early as we can," said a BAE spokeswoman at the Govan yard. "We have work till 2018 here. We are expecting to be in a posi-tion to have decisions on the frigates at the end of this year, which gives us a four-year window even if we're going to a single site.

"That is fantastic investment and good news for Glasgow."

Business insiders aren't convinced the Govan yard is guaranteed to make ships after 2018.

But they could see its facilities, including soph-isticated laser systems for cutting metal and modern docks, used to make something else.

Could this, they ask, be the base for the long-promised Scottish boom in making equipment for offshore energy?